Tuesday, October 30

adoption

Excerpts from "TREAD SOFTLY ON MY ADOPTION" -

"I know they mean well. But the message good but not natural doesn’t ring true to those who drink from the chalice daily, imbibing the family grace with each swill. We don’t feel unnatural in our God-ordained family. Most of us are naked and unashamed in our homes, crawling under the covers with our mothers and wrestling barefoot with our siblings and laughing with our super-hero fathers. We’re at home where we belong, naturally."

"Family living doesn’t come easy – the tumble of personalities, insecurities and contending wills. We each struggle with identity issues, questioning our worth, wondering if we can contribute something of value to the world. What parent, adoptive or not, hasn’t had to battle personal anxieties while fortifying the healthy identity of their child? Isn’t this par for the course in family formation? Iron on iron, friction forging character and undaunted acceptance culling a child capable of self-love – this is indigenous to every family, right?"

Please click here to read the full post by Kelley Nikondeha.


Monday, October 29

step away from the fray


fray/frā/
 


Noun:


A situation of intense activity, 

typically one incorporating an 

element of aggression or competition.

~   ~   ~   ~   

I'm 35,000 feet in the air flying away from 5/7ths of my children and all of my very best friend.

I'm thinking what I now think whenever I fly away (ever since January of 2010): I hope nothing terrible happens that keeps us separated for longer than we've planned. 

I'm thinking about how nice - and how unfair it is - that I am allowed the chance to fly away from all that deep brown water and mud and mess.

I'm thinking my passport gives me freedom to escape.

I'm thinking about the parts that I cannot escape.

I'm thinking about the first two girls, the 2/7ths and how quickly they've become women. I'm thinking, why does it all pass by so quickly? 

I'm thinking about the last seven or eight weeks and I'm wondering if I want to take the time to process it.

I'm thinking about the condition of my soul and I'm wishing it could be fixed without doing anything hard.

I'm re-reading an email I have only previously skimmed from a loving friend.


"How is God seeming to you these days?"
"What do you need to hear from God?" She asks.

I'm startled by the immediate and involuntary tears running down my face.  I can't easily read those questions  - let alone answer them. I've known for a few weeks that I'm struggling but I further busy myself in order to avoid facing it.

There was the day I was overwhelmed with all the unfixable situations, the day I was testing a lady for Malaria and my mind said a crazy thing "I wish I had Malaria - so I could lie in bed and hide." I knew then that something needed to be dealt with - because that's just weird.

How is God seeming to me these days? 
What do I need to hear from Him?

I am assigned by my friend to answer those questions and more.  My tactic is to do anything but engage in thinking about difficult things.  Difficult things like God - like where I am with Him.  I stay busy in order to avoid.  My friend knows this and because she knows this she asks:

"How does it feel to be silent and slow down and wait with God?"

Months ago when flights were cheap I planned this trip. Now it's here. I've been given this week away from the intensity of my regular day to day and I'm supposed to slow down, wait, listen, feel, and figure something out.

I'm thinking it would be good to do all that.
I'm thinking it would be easier not to.

I'm thinking most everyone needs to step away from the fray. I'm thinking everyone remains intentionally busy and engaged in some of the wrong stuff. Because I'm thinking that, I'm asking you - What do you need to hear from God? 

Thursday, October 25

a link on a stormy morning

River Grise (often a totally dry riverbed - photo this morning)
We woke up to a third day of cool temps, gray skies, and rain. This is almost unheard of here.

(Today) Thursday is Prenatal day, we're expecting a very low turnout.

The hundreds and thousands living a mile away in tents are most certainly exhausted. How do you sleep when everything you own is soaking wet? Where do you put your baby to sleep when water runs under your feet and all around you?

When I think about the way it feels to wear wet clothes and how quickly I want out of them and into dry/clean clothes ... Then to realize that there is no shelter from the wetness and no dry change of clothing to be found - I'm mortified. Truthfully, thousands of people have no option but to wait for this rain and cold to end.

I cannot imagine what it is to be that vulnerable.

The last six weeks have been weeks of lament in my heart and soul. When I get stuck like this, I have a hard time turning to God. The song/lyrics I posted this morning communicates to me, and for me. 

So, God of the universe 
Do you hear the cries
That pour out from all the earth? 

Can your hands of glory reach down and heal the hurt of the broken? 
And God of eternal things - will you give us eyes to see all the light you bring? 
Will you be the voice that causes our hearts to sing for the broken? 
Can we fall in love again for the first time? 
God of the universe when we hear the cries that pour out from all the earth will you give us hands to reach out and heal the hurt of the broken? 


This post is challenging, please read it with an open heart.

The Broken


In the dark night
Is there a shelter or a rescue light?
Is there a fire burning up the plight
That plagues my shallow heart?
Because lately I swear ths world is just a maze to me
My eyes are blinded by the things I see
That are tearing us all apart
So, God of the universe 
Do you hear the cries
That pour out from all the earth? 
Can your hands of glory
Reach down and heal the hurt
Of the broken?
For so long The hands of hunger held an empty song
Under the burden that they don't belong
It's the poverty of the soul
And, but the weight of - The weight of glory can still rise above
Capture the captives on the wings of love
And carry us to our home
So, God of the universe Do you hear the cries That pour out from all the earth? Can your hands of glory Reach down and heal the hurt Of the broken? And God of eternal things Will you give us eyes To see all the light you bring? Will you be the voice That causes our hearts to sing For the broken? Can we fall in love again for the first time? We wanna fall in love again just like the first time, yeah Can we fall in love again? God of the universe When we hear the cries That pour out from all the earth Will you give us hands To reach out and heal the hurt Of the broken? And God over everything Will you give us eyes To see all the light you bring? Will you be the voice That causes our hearts to sing  - For the broken

Wednesday, October 24

(cold) weather warning


Tropical Storm Sandy is making her way through the Caribbean. We're utilizing our winter pajamas and body heat to weather this storm. 

Some of us love 73 degrees with every inch of our scrawny being.

Monday, October 22

ten years of extra joy



We had a little kick-ball party to celebrate the last 10 joy-filled years.







Ten years ago this week, these two precious gifts were given our last name and citizenship in the US of A. It is possible that I'm slightly biased, but I tend to think of them as the most wonderful Haitian-Americans in the entire citycountryCaribbeanhemisphereworld, solar system, galaxy, universe.  

The other day I was explaining to Isaac that I had come to a place of being okay with having lost a baby boy at the 16 week mark of pregnancy many years ago. I explained that had I not lost him, I don't think we would have adopted. If we wouldn't have adopted Hope and Isaac we wouldn't have moved to Haiti.  There wouldn't be a Phoebe in our family. We wouldn't be where we are - being stretched and growing.

Talk about a mind-numbing, mind-blowing moment. He almost couldn't process it.

Thank you so much Jesus for allowing us the privilege of parenting and loving these two fabulous kids  ... Undeserved gifts indeed.

2002


Happy ten year adoption-anniversary-day Isaac & Hope!


Run For Life Haiti . org

Will you PLEASE take four minutes and watch this:



Maternal healthcare ...a passion. 

The women of Haiti ...a passion.


pas·sion/ˈpaSHən/  Noun:


  1. Strong and barely controllable emotion.
  2. A state or outburst of such emotion.

If you are here and reading this, We're asking you to pray and to consider how you can help with this massive and exciting undertaking. This will require passion.

When I first heard what Barry hoped to do, and why he hoped to do it, I was incredulous. Of course I understood his passion for the cause, but I didn't understand how in the world he came to the decision to take on such an insane number of miles. The truth is it isn't necessary for Barry to convince me of his physical capabilities, or his mental stability. It is, however, necessary for all of us to get behind him and support his vision. It is after all - a joint passion. 

January of 2007 Barry was with his wife Rebecca as their son Isaac died approximately 30 minutes before he was born. They never had the opportunity to hold a living, breathing son. Their loss is personal. Their loss is great. They would be the first to tell you that their God is personal. His healing grace is great.  This is what fuels Barry's desire to reduce the  maternal and infant mortality rate in Haiti.

The important things to know:

1. Anyone can get involved
2. The website is: www.runforlifehaiti.org

3. The ultimate goal is to raise $800,000 for the construction of the new, much larger, Maternity Center. In the past two years $146,000 has been raised for the Maternity Center. It is sitting in an account designated to this cause and will be added to this fund. 

At the website you will see a donate button and a link called "get involved". Co-run events are suggested. For non-runners there are dozens of ways you can get involved.  For example, in December in South Texas Tara's mom and musician friends will be holding a Christmas concert. Proceeds from that night will be donated to the Run For Life Haiti fund.  They will be signed up for a co-event as a team. Bake sales, garage sales, other athletic events, concerts, and craft sales are all great ideas. The list of ideas is as endless as your imagination. The holiday season is the perfect season to be creative and give. 

Consider many ways to get involved:

1. Share this post or Share the YouTube video
2. Boldly ask others to give and act
3. Organize a "co-event" of any variety - sign up with a team name
4. Give generously to sponsor Barry and his gallant efforts
5. Check out and "like" all of Heartline's Facebook pages for updates:
6.  Pray for the pregnant women in the program, pray for the women on the wait list 
7.  Join us, become passionate about Maternal Healthcare and the women of Haiti

New to this site, never heard of Heartline Ministries or the Prenatal program?
To see some of the faces and families of women that have been supported through their pregnancies please click here, here, here, here, here, here or here and peruse the archives. 

Friday, October 19

an update

Ten days ago I added this statement (in red) to the Harbor House tab/page.  I also want to publish the update on a new post to be sure we're keeping donors and prayer partners up to date.  

**Update October 8, 2012  
As of this moment we're undecided about the future of the Harbor House. At this time we ask that you not give financial gifts to this program specifically until we determine if we will move forward with taking in another group of young (teen) moms.  The first group graduated on July 21, 2012. We're still working to get each one settled into school or work  (a job) depending upon their needs and this has proven to be a much more difficult task than we imagined.  

Finding the line between advocacy and healthy encouragement/support and creating dependency and entitlement is one of the most difficult pieces of helping someone. Programs that require reintegration into regular life are much more complicated and culturally tricky. We remain uncertain about the future of this program and we ask for your prayers for wisdom and discernment as we decide what to do next and as we continue to help the original 8 teen mothers find their footing outside of the Harbor House. 

Respectfully-
Tara Livesay
Heartline Ministries 


We're currently leaning away from doing anything residential again.  The 18 months went as well as can be expected with a house full of hormones and new young mamas. Bonding between mothers and babies took place. At least a few lives were preserved thanks to the shelter and provision of the home. For some young women, personal growth occurred. The challenges with reintegration are formidable.  As of today we're considering using the house to expand some of the education and crafting programs that happen (Haitian Creations) and we continue to pray and seek direction. Thank you for your prayers.  (Follow comments on this post for further information.)

Thursday, October 18

ramblings and confessions of a jesus lover wresting with social media and the way(s) we idolize


Talent is God given. Be humble. 
Fame is man-given. Be grateful. 
Conceit is self-given. Be careful. 
-John Wooden

Internet marketing & social media, they are the way of the world. Ten years ago Facebook hadn't yet been launched and 'tweet' was a sound that birds made outside of our windows.  Today Facebook has over one billion active users and Twitter is one of the ten most visited websites on the Internet. Multitudes care a lot about it and pay attention to who is following and who is being followed.



I understand sharing our visions, dreams, day to day lives, and stories of those that need and deserve justice. I do. I love connecting to new like-minded friends via social media.  Even so, I question: Where does God fit in to our habits? How much of my trust is placed in His ability to provide for our family and for the work of Heartline and how much of my trust is placed in my ability to promote it. I bristle a bit as I force myself to honestly examine what part of this might be self-promotion. Was I more trusting in His provision before the dawn of social networking? Before all of this became a part of our every day communication, was I more at peace? Can I see and distinguish the line between healthy and unhealthy promotion? Is there one?

This dialogue isn't meant to put anyone on the defensive. Hear this first: It's not about judging anyone but myself. That's what I'm doing here. I don't want to fall into the trap of self importance and loving the idol of self or the idol of social media. Does social media create false gods and false celebrity and are we, as Christians, considering who we want to make famous? Should any one of us be concerned with our "Klout" score. Doesn't that idea smack of something really icky?

In an email exchange with a friend I recently shared some of things that have been bothering me.

A portion of the email:

I so dislike when people treat other more visible Christians like famous people.  I am uncomfortable when people do that to Troy and I and I don't ever want to get sucked into thinking that we are a big deal because someone says we are -- I don't know how to explain it well but I don't love the human and sinful pull of wanting man's approval and when man gives so much approval I feel so squirmy and unsure of how to stay in the right place in my head and heart. I don't want to become confused by man's approval.  So, when I watch social media and I see the way people idolize missionaries and/or big time Christian writers, speakers, bloggers and such it makes me very uncomfortable and I admit I get mad at how we Christians have imported our own little Hollywood and we play these games of "who's who" in the Christian circles. One time I heard Francis Chan say that it totally messes him up to have so many people telling him how great he is. Obviously Francis Chan hears this a dozen times a day but even on a tiny scale I think this is used by the devil to make us put our eyes on ourselves and not our Jesus.

From time to time someone will gush about this blog or elevate us to hero status based on something they made up about us. Usually those perceptions are formed from nothing more than social media interaction or seeing Troy's thousands of robot Twitter followers or something equally fake and unimportant.

Social media has a place and a purpose. I know this. I want to keep the baby from flying across the room as I throw out this bathwater.

I am cognizant that it must be used with caution. For myself, I'd like it to be about bringing honor to the One that gifted us in the first place. I'd like my words to reflect His love and my respect for the Haitian people and I'd like to keep myself in check. I recognize how much I need to look to Jesus and His example and avoid the easy trap of elevating one another and/or ourselves.

It seems to me like Christian culture just mimics regular culture but re-labels it and calls it holy and acceptable. I expect there is already a  repackaged 'Klout for Jesus' scoring system in development with which to legitimize our narcissism as unto the Lord.

We're all excited about various Christian figures that we admire or respect. In and of itself it's not all bad  -- but we're taking it to new levels. Thanking or recognizing someone for the way God has used them to speak to our hearts and souls is one thing, swooning over someone and deciding they are better, more important, deserving of fame and even glory is quite another. We're labeling people as "A list" Christians and "most influential" and we're categorizing people according to their on-line influence. That makes me uncomfortable. While we are building up the influential, we are trampling on the faceless faithful that daily go about their life and work without pining for recognition. Worse than that though, I feel like we're getting tripped up and sucked in and often times forgetting that Jesus is supposed to be the Famous One. 

photo credit: dks systems

Tuesday, October 16

new life




'Mwen menm, mwen vin pou moun ka gen lavi, 
epi pou yo genyen l' an kantite.'



First post about Jesula here.
Recent post about the birth of baby Sarah here. 

Home:

Monday, October 15

Jesula's birth and a Good Shepherd



Yesterday, a precious baby girl for Jesula (jesus is here) Difficile (difficult).

The last ten minutes of this birth and the first few minutes outside of the womb proved to be difficult indeed. 

For a number of adrenaline-filled moments sweat was pouring off of nervous midwives and urgent prayers were uttered on behalf of this woman and child as fetal heart tones took a dive.

Truthfully, I don't think we necessarily expected easy, even though yes, Jesus is here.

One thing that I've learned working here, one thing I'd rather enjoy unlearning, and unknowing  ... The battle rages on forcefully in the spiritual realm.


It is alarming enough to simply read the words of Jesus in John chapter 10 -  "the thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy ..." But it is petrifying to bear witness to it from the front row on occasion.

Back at home after this intense birth, I'm processing conflicting feelings of fear and victory, uncertainty and assurance, joy and sorrow. I am simultaneously hopeful and sad as I think about Jesula and her new baby girl. I feel both weight and levity while carrying additional concerns for my own baby girls.

I think about these ongoing battles and I look up the second half of this verse in many translations:
  • I came to give life with joy and abundance.
  • I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
  • I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance to the full, till it overflows. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
  • Mwen menm, mwen vin pou moun ka gen lavi, epi pou yo genyen l' an kantite.
My heart longs for the end of the story. My soul aches for these battles to end.  

It appears the only thing to do is remain patiently trapped in the tension of what is and what will be.

Verse 9 ... "I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be liberated, will go in and go out, and will find pastures."
Verse 11 ... "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep in His care." 

Saturday, October 13

the week in review by the numbers


  • 6 number of newly pregnant women added to the prenatal program on Friday
  • 39 total number of pregnant ladies in the program as of this moment
  • 1 woman due to deliver this month that is Hope & Phoebe's big sister 
  • 19 number of prenatal consultations completed on Thursday at Heartline
  • 2 number of short but sweet reunions with earthquake buddies (hi Megs!, hi Kristen!)
  • 1 the number of midwifery modules completed and turned in for grading
  • 3 the number of times Tara planned to study the next unit but failed 
  • 3 number of physicals completed Tuesday for new ladies in the program
  • 2 number of boys in the house that aren't impressed with Columbus or his special day: "Maaany people should have tried to kick his little keister!" -isaac livesay
  • 1 number of cases of Impetigo being treated 
  • numerous- meltdowns by parents or children this week - who's counting?
  • 1 number of tires that fell completely off while driving through Port au Prince
  • 3 phone calls from the landlord negotiating rent 
  • 5+ number of times adults tried to discuss rent/housing issues (related: 5+ number of times conversation yielded no true resolution)
  • 19 number of kind and caring writer/photographer Haiti visitors that came for a delicious Haitian lunch at Heartline this week 
  • 4 pairs of wild knee socks Lydia received (related: 2 the number of nights Lydia wore knee socks to bed)
  • 1 delicious bag of HoneyCrisp Apples that were gifted to us and fought over (related: 28-number of hours that passed before all apples were consumed)
  • 1 number of projectile vomits in the night at house of Troy (related: 2- pieces of paper-towel shoved in nostrils for clean-up process)
  • 3 total number of kids that threatened to puke but didn't (related: 2- the number of elated parents)
  • 2 number of rats killed in yard by Mastiffs at house of Troy 
  • 2 number of rats Geronne pitched over the cement wall back into the bird-yard with a shovel (related: 3-number of days the wind has carried the stench of rodent death over the wall back into our yard)
  • 1 the number of washing machine's that bit the dust (related: 1 the number of grossly overpriced appliances purchased this week) 
  • 1 number of first-world problems experienced and recognized as such (see above)
  • 1 trip to see Geronne's house she is building & measure for windows
  • 1 number of times the power came back on while we were sleeping and the pump was left on at the time of power loss and water was being pumped to the roof cistern and dumping back on the ground in the yard while we slept (Related 2- the number of tummy aches over the horrible atrocity of wasting water here)
  • 0 number of times everyone slept through the night this week
  • 2 number of college applications Paige sent this week 
  • 1 the number of Japanese men that grew up in Peru and now live in Haiti that gave T & T a ride in his car (related: 3-number of broken languages spoken to communicate)
  • 2.5 number of hours two exhausted parents of many children spent away from the house staring into each others eyes and talking without dozens of interruption while eating delicious sushi 
  • 1 number of times Lydia overtly insulted Troy:  "Dad, are you going to change your outfit to look more handsome? I'm not trying to be rude."

socks
finding this place close to our home increased our chances of
romance and marital bliss by a billion - date night!
earthquake reunion #1
earthquake reunion #2

on occasion, it sucks to be Troy
  • many, many. many thanks to all that read, pray, encourage, love, give, serve 
  • multiple wishes for a joy and rest filled October weekend

Friday, October 12

postpartum joy







photo courtesy of Esther Havens

vote for this peak


Somehow we managed to be out on a rare date on the night of the first debate ...
port-au-prince date night October 3rd ~ check that w.p. 

Our apathy (non) political leanings were covered a couple of weeks ago at this post. 

Last night there wasn't a date night scheduled. We don't have television reception ... Even so, the debate at our house was intense.  

Which man is concerned with the issues of our time?  Who will reduce the national debt? Which man has the best understanding of foreign policy? Who will best protect  and preserve our civil liberties? 

No. 
This:

Which man possesses the smartest and sexiest widows peak?  
troylivesay vs paulryan 
That is the debate. (I think you know the answer.) 


1 (top) 2 (middle) 3 (bottom)  - polls are open until 8pm. 

Thursday, October 11

grief will give birth to great joy



In the middle of the night, tossing and turning and so very worried and restless, I say, "Troy tell me what to read to settle my brain down."  

He rolls over and groggily says, "Read John 15 and 16."

Jesus said: My commandment to you is this: love others as I have loved you. There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends. You celebrate our friendship if you obey this command. I don't call you servants any longer; servants don't know what the master is doing, but I have told you everything the Father has said to Me. I call you friends. You did not choose Me. I chose you, and I orchestrated all of this so that you would be sent out and bear great and perpetual fruit. As you do this, anything you ask the Father in My name will be done. This is My command to you: love one another.

The Voice paraphrase John 15:12-17

Jesus said: Are you trying to figure out what I mean when I say you will see Me in a little while? I tell you the truth, a time is approaching when you will weep and mourn while the world is celebrating. You will grieve, but that grief will give birth to great joy. In the same way that a woman labors in great pain during childbirth, only to forget the intensity of the pain when she holds her child, when I return, your labored grief will also change into a joy that cannot be stolen.

The Voice paraphrase John 16:19-22

I smile at these chapters Troy has unknowingly chosen perfectly from his sleepy stuppor. 
Yes. The reminder that He chooses us. The command to love. I sigh a heavy knowing sigh at the grief, labor, and pain metaphor. I feel His nearness in that moment  - and in the promise that grief will one day give birth to great joy.

Wednesday, October 10

love sees, love hears


This happens frequently.  

I am restless. 

Some breaker in my brain pops and I'm stuck in a cycle of unproductive worry, and frustration. 

I want things to be fair, neat and tidy.  I want problems to be easily addressed, fixed, and crossed off the list. I want to accomplish something and I want closure. 

If only I were an electrician. I'd just replace that faulty breaker and stop it from popping this way every few months. 

Instead I ask God again to remind me of what matters, to quiet the noise, to flip my switch back into a position of increased peace and trust and patience. I ask Him to remind me that closure will come one day. I ask Him to remind me that apart from His power supply  - I'm just a faulty breaker. 


~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~


You see, meeting these women and their families is jarring.  

As we listen to their struggles, as we hear the parts of their history they choose to share with us, we want so badly to make it fair for them.  To fix it. 

I write things like, "I recognize that sorrow and joy and pain and triumph all dance together. They are a paradox far too intertwined to experience one without the other."  But after I say things like that, I immediately want it to be untrue. I want there to be only joy. I am angry about the sorrow and the pain. I don't want them intertwined. I want clean answers and I want justice and I want to flip a switch and quickly correct it all.

So, allow me to repeat something for the sake of my own soul. These words are reminders to myself, the slowest learner I know. 

We cannot necessarily change their day to day lives. We cannot meet the vast majority of their material needs. We don't have answers to much of what they have faced or will face. There are not yet reliable and functional systems to protect them from more abuse. We cannot create permanent and guaranteed safety for them. What we lack is huge and obvious...
however ...


We DO have the ability to listen. We DO have the ability to hear about their lives. We DO have the ability to choose to be uncomfortable as we simply open our hearts to listen to their hurts and hear about what they face; even if we're not in a position to fix anything.


Saint Augustine asked,  "What does love look like?"  His answer included, "Love has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men." 

He didn't say love solves every want. He didn't say love fixed the misery or sorrow.

He said love saw it.
He said love heard it.

Henri Nouwen said: "The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing ... not healing, not curing ... that is a friend who cares."

Love sits with hurting people.

We care deeply about each woman's pregnancy and delivery.

We care even more about love.

We want each interaction to be seen as an opportunity to invest time  in their lives, their stories, their pain and struggle. The very best and the very hardest part of the program is making time to truly hear from them and build relationships.

As you look over these photos please add to your prayers that we will be able to get to know and love each woman in a way that reminds her of her intrinsic value and of her Heavenly Father's Great Love for her. 


Rania has delivered 6 children at home because she fears the treatment poor women often receive in the medical system.  She joined the Heartline prenatal program last week.

Tuesday, October 9

scandal in port au prince









It turns out that our two sons had been riding around Port au Prince very stressed at the depraved and reprehensible condition of our world.

All of these signs can be seen on their short three mile ride to school. Everywhere they looked they were seeing similar signage.  They simply couldn't imagine why so many businesses were blatantly advertising such overtly scandalous behavior.

They could not comprehend why we were not troubled by it.

When they finally got up the nerve to ask us, we were confused and said, "What do those signs say guys?"

They looked us like we were morons.
How could we not know?!?!

 " You (u) and (n) I  - sex - is what they say Dad!"

Oh.
Dear.

The word 'unisex' has been defined and explained.

All is well in their world again.

P.S. If you are (a man or a woman) going to get your hair cut, always choose the place that cuts your hair and serves special beer.
As if you needed that tip. 

Friday, October 5

invitation to tour the maternity center

Please join Lydia on a tour of the current Heartline Maternity Center:



We love this place and are blessed to have everything we need to work with about 40 women on Tuesday and 40 others on Thursday. On occasion babies are delivered in exam rooms when more than one woman is in labor and the extra room is required. We use space in the yard for meals and additional classes on Fridays. We make the most of this property. 

We wanted you to see our space and join us as we dream about expanding to an additional, bigger facility in the future. 
~   ~   ~   ~

(Translation of Lydia in order: Welcome to the Maternity Center, this is the kitchen. This is the classroom where we all work together. Is the baby room where the babies are borned. And this is the room where the babies get checked. Exam room. This is where we listen to the baby's heart beat in the mommy's stomach. This is the postpartum. Thank you for coming on our tour.)

Thursday, October 4

The Language of Poverty


Food for thought:
By D.L. Mayfield (an excerpt) 
"But when God speaks and writes about the poor, he envisioned us seeing real faces, knowing real people, he never meant for it to be an abstract. And that is where we have gone awry, my friends, and this is where the word has become evil.
When we don’t know the poor, that is when they become the Other; easy to categorize, easy to help, easy to fix, easy to forget. When we only see them in short bursts, when we never truly live in their context, when we only get fleeting  glimpses from our safe perch. It is not the language that is the problem here; in fact, when we try to sanitize it (the economically unstable, the financially depressed, low-income) it only serves to create safe and sanitized boundaries. But in the words of the Bible, the human condition is found. When we read the words “the poor,” we are expected to feel something. If you don’t, then this is a grave problem. For us, the term is one to be bandied about, argued over, molded into whatever best serves our purposes. But for people living in poverty, it is another story. We would do right to remember what the majority world already knows: beyond being theological or evoking imagery, poverty kills people. It ends lives, changes them irrevocably, fills them with suffering. According to Scripture, the poor are never to be pitied; but they are to be taken care of, to be at the forefront of our minds just as they are in the eyes of God."

Happy Birthday Lyd

October 4th, 2007 ~ early morning
October 4, 2007 ~ afternoon

First photo with all seven

When our 7th child was born 7 pounds and 7 ounces we knew better than to ignore that 7 is a perfect number and we put an end to our fertility and an end to our adoption dossier compiling.

7 it is.
7 it shall be.
Amen. 

Today #7 turns 5 years old.  Mothers are into cliches and mothers always say this, therefore out of obligation I must say, "It hardly seems possible."  

We joke and tease a lot about the strong personality that is Lydia Beth Livesay. She's always been sure her voice is heard - her uniqueness recognized. The truth is, the child is difficult to reason with much of the time. If we weren't the ones reasoning with her all the time I think we'd find it uber entertaining. To every negative there is a positive. The flip side of that is that she lives with passion and zeal; she loves ferociously.

While parenting strong personalities is more work, we've come to recognize it is also more rewarding. It's like solving a difficult puzzle every.day.of.our.lives. How can we not feel triumphant? ;)

Troy and I didn't set out to achieve the number 7.  Number(s) 6 and 7 happen to be the children that took us from above-average parents down to mediocre and frazzled parents. The thing is, for us mediocre and frazzled equals a lot of relying on grace, a lot of joy, a lot of feeling deeply, a lot of negotiating, a lot of laughter, but most of all - a lot of love.

Happy 5th Birthday to the baby of our family.  
We love you so stinkin much. 

Wednesday, October 3

Meet Elina



Forty hours after her water broke, after more than 40 minutes of pushing, Patricia welcomed a BIG baby girl into the world this morning at 10:55am.

Elina Cemie Delourdes Gaudin has a big name to go with her 8lbs and 10ounces of sweetness.

Elina is named partially after her great grandmother, Delourdes. She is pictured here holding her 28th great-grand child.  She is a Great Grandma beaming with pride this afternoon.

What an honor it is to be able to witness such a joyous occasion.

Tuesday, October 2

collection of kid quotes



In our family we celebrate two birthdays 16 days apart in Sept/Oct. We honored those birthday with a beach trip this past Sunday. It started out not fun due to crappy attitudes and car fights, but turned out to be a very nice time. Sometimes it is necessary (even required) for parents to say threatening things to children on the ride to a family day at the beach. It just is.

I've been scrawling down kid quotes for a couple weeks. Some funny, some just odd.  
The quotes are like the kids that way, I suppose.


Lydie's poolside  salon
(Sunday at beach)
Me - "Lydie, what are you doing honey?"
Lydie - "UH....This lady is letting me do her hair, that's what."
~  ~  ~
(After asking to take the kids' photo all together and making Noah mad)
Me - "Noah, what was that angry terrible attitude about earlier?"
Noah - "There was wind and it was bright and I couldn't see and it hurt."
Me - "Huh. Well all the other kids were there and nobody else had that issue."
Noah - "I am pretty sure Isaac thought it was bright too."
Me - "But did Isaac get mad, cross his arms, refuse to cooperate over it?"
Noah - "No."
Me - "What do you think you could learn ... About choosing to have a good attitude?"
Noah - "I don't want to learn anything."
~  ~  ~
(Walking through the PAP airport parking lot one morning)
"Mama! Careful! I don't want you to get drived on. Either me!" -Lydie
~  ~  ~
(Listening to us talk on a car ride)
"Hey - we need more happy people in this family, not cynical." - Isaac
~  ~  ~ 
(For no reason)
"Daddy -If you count to ten and close your eyes - when we get home I'll scratch your hair."  -Lydie

sept and oct birthday fools

Talking about a menu plan for Lou Lou's upcoming birthday 
(Lydia's nickname is LouLou)
Crying, she says ...  "Aaaawww, Why do we always have to have food on my birthday???"  (She wants only cake and ice-cream for dinner and the again for dessert.) 
~  ~  ~  
(At a friend's house)
"Wow! That's a beautiful generator!! " -Hope
~  ~  ~
"Dad! Lydia put a booger on your iPad!!"  -Noah

~  ~  ~ 
"Times change. Kids don't." - Troy